U.S. soldier of the 25th Infantry Division at Patrol Base Diamond, near the Cambodian-Vietnamese border (April, 1969.
Downtown Cairo, Egypt. Circa 1960
A Soldier wounded in the Tet offensive 1968 during Vietnam War.
Aftermath of the 1968 Chicago riot in response to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
By Paul Henderson
The automotive equivalent of a 1960s acid flashback, Sonny and Cher's custom cars were hideous then… and they still are
When it comes to the event that killed the 1960s, there are a few notable contenders. The war in Vietnam was one. The Manson Family murders were another. Could it have been the Zodiac Killer in California? Or Bobby Kennedy's assassination in 1968? According to Hunter S Thompson, it was The Rolling Stones and their infamous Altamont Speedway concert when “the sharks finally came home to roost”. Or maybe, just maybe, it was the automotive abomination that was Sonny and Cher's matching Ford Mustangs that marked the beginning of the end.
When 16-year-old high-school dropout Cherilyn Sarkisian was sitting in a coffee shop in Los Angeles in 1963, she wasn't waiting for the man of her dreams… she was dreaming of stardom. Salvatore “Sonny” Bono, on the other hand, was 28 and had been around the block. Having worked as a waiter, on construction sites and as a truck driver, Sonny finally got his break as a songwriter when Sam Cooke recorded one of his tracks and that led to him getting a job as a gofer for Phil Spector. On the day they met, Cher recalled: "Everyone else just disappeared. He was the most unusual person I’d ever seen."
Despite the age difference, Cher moved in with Sonny and they married in 1964. At first they performed as Caesar & Cleo, but a year later they released their first single “Baby Don't Go” as Sonny & Cher. An album followed – Look At Us – and in 1965 they released “I Got You Babe” and Cher had her dream. They became fully fledged superstars. She was the feisty, sexy songstress; he was her funny and funky foil. And they would go on to have a successful TV career with The Sonny And Cher Comedy Hour.
But in 1965, they were the hottest folk/pop lovebirds of the decade (Simon & Garfunkel were up there, but Art never looked that good in hot pants) and the Ford motor company noticed. Having launched the Mustang in 1964, by the time “I Got You Babe” reached the top of the charts Ford had sold a million of their Pony cars. And that gave someone in the marketing department a great idea. Ford would gift Sonny and Cher matching 1966 Mustang convertibles and the company could watch the sales go, err, through the roof.
However, like all the best ideas, they had to go and ruin it. Instead of just giving the duo a car, Ford insisted on letting George Barris, the “King Of Kar Kustomization”, give them a makeover. And, boy, did George do his thing.
For those that don't know, back in the day Barris was Hollywood's go-to car guy. He built the Batmobile for Adam West's Caped Crusader, the Munster Koach from The Munsters and also the Monkeemobile for hey, hey, it's The Monkees. He also customised a gold Rolls-Royce for Zsa Zsa Gabor, bespoke golf carts for Bing Crosby and Bob Hope and a fleet of Mini Mokes for the Beach Boys. So George was never going to go for subtle.
Cher's was coloured Hot Candy Pink and Sonny's was finished in Murano Gold (both cars featured 40 layers of paint). Barris also gave the Mustangs fresh front ends, with rectangular headlights, "fake" metal grilles on the bonnet (that looked suspiciously like extractor hoods from an oven) and both came with classic OTT 1960s hippy shag-pad interiors. In other words, Cher's had ermine fur seat covers paired with black leather, while Sonny's was kitted out with shaggy bobcat fur and suede. Yeah, baby! High-tech eight-track stereos were added and the drivers' seats were both “swivel chairs”. Of course they were. (Oh, and Barris removed the door handles, presumably because he didn't like the look of them.)
Whether Sonny or Cher ever actually drove their Mustangs is unclear, but in better news the cars are still together (unlike Sonny and Cher, who divorced in 1974; custody of the cars was not an issue). The Mustangs are currently owned by car collector Ward Morgan and on display at the Midwest Dream Car Collection in Kansas City.
Depending on your point of view, these cars are either unique automotive artefacts that should be celebrated, or counterculture casualties of the 1960s every bit as tragic as Billy The Kid and Captain America in Easy Rider.One thing is certain, though: when it comes to good taste in cars, they blew it, man.
: John Gavin
The show focused on Commander Dan Talbot and his crew, who worked at a cargo ship helping to supply troops during World War II. Its black and white format, which was done that way so it could include old war footage, didn’t seem to please audiences who were more interested in the new technicolor shows. In 1966, John Gavin became a member of the board of the Screen Actors Guild. He continued acting though and almost landed the role of James Bond in the 1971 movie “007 – Diamonds are Forever”, which ended up going to Sean Connery. In 1981 he was appointed Ambassador to Mexico by President Ronald Reagan. He died in 2018.
: John Schuck, Richard B. Shull
Detective shows have always been popular, especially when there is a duo involved. ABC expected to bring an exciting twist with this one. The show revolved around Det. Alexander Holmes and his highly technological android partner Yoyo. It ended up lasting only 1 season and was included in TV Guide’s List of the Worst 50 TV Shows of All Time.
Richard B. Shull (Detective Alexander Holmes) became known for his roles in some popular plays such as "The Marriage of Bette and Boo" (1985) and the ever-popular "Victor/Victoria". He died in 1999. John Schuck, the android partner, went on to win the hearts of Trekkie fans when he appeared in "Star Trek VI" and lately has been dedicated to theater.
: Lloyd Bridges
: 1958 - 1961
Sea Hunt starred Lloyd Bridges as a S.C.U.B.A. diver who spent his time looking for things underwater, such as downed satellites and sunken treasures, fighting villains and saving children lost in flooded caves, among many other adventures. The show’s voice-over narrations gave it the feeling of a radio program and every episode was filled with adventure and happy endings.
Lloyd Bridges kept on appearing on several TV shows and movies and ended up seeing his fan base renewed with his role as Steve McCroskey in the highly popular 1980 comedy “Airplane!”, as well as his role as Admiral Benson in “Hot Shots!”, starring Charlie Sheen. He continued actively working until his death in 1998.
: Edmond O’Brien, Yuki Shimoda
Johnny Midnight was a show about an ex-actor/theater owner, turned private detective. He operated on Broadway and the theatre district. He had an Asian assistant called Aki and most of his clients were from the theatre. He frequently used makeup and disguises while investigating undercover. The show was packed with beatnik characters and slang and had an interesting jazzy soundtrack.
Edmond O’Brien had already won an Oscar for his role in 1954’s “The Barefoot Contessa” and, after Johnny Midnight, in 1964, he got a nomination for Best Supporting Actor for “Seven Days in May”. He died in 1985 of Alzheimer’s disease. Yuki Shimoda went on to appear on several different shows and movies up until his death in 1981.
: Scott Brady
: 1959 - 1961
Shotgun Slade was a Western but unlike any other, since it was also a detective series. Slade, the main character, and his fellow cowboy heroes Lucas McCain and Josh Randall carried around unique modified guns on the show, but Slade’s was even more eccentric. He was a private detective, hired to track down criminals and solve mysteries.
After playing Shotgun Slade, Scott Brady continued appearing sporadically as an occasional tough cop in minor movies such as “$” (1971), “The Loners” (1972) and “Wicked, wicked” (1973). He died in 1984 from respiratory disease, but not before appearing in some big-screen movies such as “The China Syndrome” (1979) and “Gremlins” (1984).
: Stanley Holloway, Audrey Totter, Frank Maxwell
: 1962 - 1963
The show focused on butler Higgins, a servant who is “offered” to Alice and Duncan McRoberts as part of an unexpected inheritance from Scotland. He goes on to lend a precious hand taking care of the 3 McRoberts children who are always up for some adventure. The kids end up helping Higgins become more relaxed.
Stanley Holloway went on to appear regularly on several TV shows and films and, in his later years, theatre. Audrey Totter semi-retired after the show and came back in 1969 with a recurrent role in the show “Medical Center”, until 1976. Frank Maxwell became known for his tough, authority figures throughout his career.
: Kathleen Nolan, Edward Andrews
: 1964 - 1965
The show was the first military sitcom featuring women as the main characters. It revolves around Lt. Anne Morgan and her fellow Waves. They are posted to a station in Ranakai, which does not please Commander Adrian that keeps on scheming to transfer the women somewhere else. Although the show had good ratings, it was canceled after 1 season
Kathleen Nolan continued appearing on many shows and movies. Also, she was the first female president of the Screen Actors Guild in the 70s’. Edward Andrews also guest-starred on several shows and was featured in many movies. Amongst his work is his recurrent role on “Love, American Style” (1969) and in “Tora! Tora! Tora!” (1970).
: Peggy Cass, Jack Weston
: 1961 - 1962
Peggy Cass starred as Elinor Hathaway, the foster mother, and manager to three hooligan monkeys, also known as the Marquis Chimps, living in hers and husband Walter’s home in the Los Angeles suburbs. Unfortunately, the human/chimp story didn’t appear to please audiences, and the show was canceled after one season.
Peggy Cass continued appearing on several different shows and movies, with recurrent roles on the show “The Doctors” (1978) and “Women in Prison” (1987). She died in 1999. Jack Weston received a Tony nomination for his role in the Broadway play “The Floating Bulb” and appeared on the 1987 movie “Dirty Dancing” as the resort manager. He died in 1996.